Ex 16:1-5,9-15; Ps 78 The Lord gave them bread from heaven; Matthew 13:1-9
Every time I read the story of Exodus I think to myself how so like us. God delivers the people of Israel from slavery, shows his power and might, and yet how ungrateful are that, are we as human persons. We are never satisfied with what God gives to us or how God reveals himself. We always want more. We are always looking to God as an ATM machine, we want to see how much we get out of him and from him. How much do we seek God for our sakes, rather than love God for His sake.
"Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron."
This is you and I on a regular basis. We grumble. We complain. We direct our disappointment and frustration to God through his chosen leaders.
But God shows himself patient. Pope Francis directed us to meditate on this patience of God during Lent, "When we think about the patience of God: that is a mystery! How patient he is with us! We do so many things, but he is patient." He follows up the invitation, "to think about what the patience of God has meant in our life." God is relentlessly and tirelessly patient on our behalf.
Then what is God's response to the Israelites hunger as they grumble for lack of food. He sends them manna from heaven. This "bread" he gives them for nourishment is meant to supply their needs one day at a time. It is just enough for just a day. They could not take more than what they would use of the day lest it rot in their midst.
What is God's patience in giving us our daily bread suggest to us? Perhaps, God invites us to live each day fully and whole heartily. Perhaps he is telling us to remove our selves from self reliance. Perhaps he is inviting us to no longer stock up for tomorrow but rather embrace the gift of each day, to live in the present with no worries or concerns for what tomorrow will bring.
Just enough for just a day!
Is what God provides today sufficient for us that we might respond in love to him and those around us?
Today we also celebrate the feast day of Mary Magdalene.
We drove through Magdala while in the Holy Land last summer. We didn't stop, but driving through it was enough to get me to be thankful for the life Mary Magdala lived and the treasure of faith she witnessed to in the gospel.
She wrestled with her own demons. She struggled with darkness. She had a past. She was "damaged" goods. Yet, she was the first witness of the resurrection. She stood at the cross when all others fled. She remained at the tomb eagerly seeking her savior. Her encounter with Christ transformed her desire and gave it a new direction.
She stood weeping outside the tomb longing to see Jesus. It was this sadness that ultimately prepared her for the joy of the encounter with the risen Lord. Sadness too can be a gift. It too can be that vehicle by which we are awakened to a deeper presence of God in our midst.
There is a danger involved in avoiding sadness. When we seek emotional happiness at all cost in an inordinate way, we lose ourselves. Sadness can open us to a richer and deeper experience with authentic life and a more profound experience with lasting joy. Embracing our sadness and sorrow can lead to greater clarity of vision and deepen our relationships, especially our relationship with God in Christ as we witness in Mary Magdala.
It was the sound of her name echoing off the lips of the resurrected Jesus that remains etched in our hearts and minds as we reread the gospel account, ""Mary!" Thus in and through her sadness and sorrow she comes to a profound experience of joy as she is awaken to the presence of Jesus in her midst, in her state of sadness and sorrow.
She was never asked to overcome her sadness and sorrow in order to experience God but rather through her experience she encounters the living and risen Lord.
Mary Magdala can be a patron for all of us in our society. We so try to avoid pain and suffering. We all want to be exhausted with joy. Yet, in her sorrow she experiences a penetrating encounter with Jesus. Mary Mandala is a reality check for all of us.